lever

noun
le·​ver | \ˈle-vər, ˈlē- \

Definition of lever 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bar used for prying or dislodging something

b : an inducing or compelling force : tool use food as a political leverTime

2a : a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or motion when forces are applied at two points and it turns about a third specifically : a rigid bar used to exert a pressure or sustain a weight at one point of its length by the application of a force at a second and turning at a third on a fulcrum

b : a projecting piece by which a mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) is operated or adjusted

lever

verb
levered; levering\ ˈle-​və-​riŋ , ˈlē-​ ; ˈlev-​riŋ, ˈlēv-​ \

Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pry, raise, or move with or as if with a lever

2 : to operate (a device) in the manner of a lever

Illustration of lever

Illustration of lever

Noun

lever 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for lever

Synonyms: Verb

jimmy, prize, pry

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Examples of lever in a Sentence

Noun

They used their money as a lever to gain political power.

Verb

He levered the rock out of the hole. the workers used crowbars to lever the heavy stone block into its new position
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Also, the shift lever is small and has an unusual mechanism. Mark Phelan, USA TODAY, "Review: Volvo loads up XC40 compact SUV with nifty features," 8 June 2018 The shift lever is small and has an unusual mechanism: push forward twice quickly for drive, push rear twice quickly for reverse, and a button for park. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2019 Volvo XC40 SUV has wireless phone charging, carryout bag hook," 23 May 2018 These price levers are harder for the U.S. government to come by because of the point outlined earlier: Our health insurance system is a lot more fragmented. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Here's why it's a nightmare to lower U.S. drug prices," 3 May 2018 The Constitution has an answer for that too, and its primary lever is political rather than prosecutorial. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Congress and the Special Counsel," 18 Apr. 2018 Idea #7: Hydrangea bushes can lever be too lush or plentiful. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "10 Breathtaking Gardens," 12 May 2014 But Kapust is looking at the project as a lever for other types of organizing. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "Can a new basketball court save a struggling Philly neighborhood?," 27 June 2018 Just remember to shift the lever into gear before releasing the parking brake on your way out. Ray Magliozzi, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Weighing the pros and cons of using the parking brake," 29 June 2018 Unlike the first two levers, the gains to be seized are limited only by your imagination. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "3 ways to boost your productivity," 2 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

No matter which levers Mr. Lampert pulled, Sears racked up hefty losses. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Reshaped America, From Kenmore to Allstate," 15 Oct. 2018 The hat was then turned 90 degrees and levered onto the statue’s head and the ramp was removed, forming wings on either side of the moai that still exist. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Clever Way the Easter Island Statues Got Hats," 13 June 2018 That means the hats must have been levered upward and then tilted down onto the head of the statue. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "How does a preindustrial society put a 13-ton hat on a statue?," 5 June 2018 If the old washer is hard to remove, try levering it off with a screwdriver. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix a Clogged Sink and Leaky Faucet," 11 Feb. 2015 Banks are ramping up a business that was popular before the financial crisis—offering investors ways to lever up sometimes illiquid and complex investments to amplify their returns. Christopher Whittall, WSJ, "Banks to Funds: Have Some Leverage With That Deal," 17 Dec. 2017 For example, EnerVest Ltd, a private-equity firm that levered portfolios of energy assets with debt is in danger of seeing its equity investments wiped out in at least one fund. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "Troubled Sheridan Production Energy Fund in Rescue Talks," 4 Aug. 2017 The safest portion, which would typically return 0.6 percent a year, can be levered up to 6 percent in some cases. Sridhar Natarajan, Bloomberg.com, "Citi Is Bringing Back One of the Most Infamous Bets of the Credit Crisis," 26 Sep. 2017 Instead of implementing robust accountability, corruption charges have traditionally been wielded as a tool to weaken civilian leaders and ultimately lever them out of power. Omar Waraich, The Atlantic, "The Corruption Conundrum in Pakistan's Democracy," 28 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lever

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lever

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French levier, lever, from lever to raise, from Latin levare, from levis light in weight — more at light

Verb

see lever entry 1

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Statistics for lever

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lever

The first known use of lever was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lever

lever

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong bar that is used to lift and move something heavy

: a bar or rod that is used to operate or adjust something on a machine, vehicle, device, etc.

: something used to achieve a desired result

lever

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift or move (something) with a lever

lever

noun
le·​ver | \ˈle-vər, ˈlē-\

Kids Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bar used to pry or move something

2 : a stiff bar for lifting a weight at one point of its length by pressing or pulling at a second point while the bar turns on a support

3 : a bar or rod used to run or adjust something a gearshift lever

lever

verb
levered; levering

Kids Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to raise or move with a bar

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